01/03/2014 11:45 EST | Updated 03/05/2014 05:59 EST

Older Workers Taking Jobs From The Young? Not So Much, Study Says

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CHICAGO - A surge of older people staying on the job has spurred what economists say is an unfounded fear that it will result in fewer jobs for the young.

Economists at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College analyzed the numbers and dispute this. They say the economy will expand if more older people are working, resulting in greater opportunity for younger people. Center director Alicia Munnell says young people won't see their hours cut, salaries reduced, or be impacted negatively because of older workers.

The theory that one group is taking jobs from another has been used in the U.S. immigration debate and relies on a simple premise: There are a fixed number of jobs available.

Most economists dispute this, citing the example of when women entered the workforce.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Aging America is a joint AP-APME project examining the aging of the baby boomers and the impact that this so-called silver tsunami has had on society